He is a graduate of the University of Oslo, where he earned a cand.oecon. degree in 1978 and a dr.philos. degree in 1988. He worked as a researcher for the Norwegian Institute of Urban and Rural Research (1978 to 1979) and the Research Council of Norway (1980 to 1982). From 1982 to 1990 he was associate professor at the University of Trondheim, and was appointed professor in 1990. The university merged to form NTNU in 1996.